The Press Room,
Lot G110 Ground Floor,
Bangsar Shopping Centre,
Jalan Maarof, Bangsar,
Tel: 03-2095 8098
LOVERS of Old World wines should take note of Paul Jaboulet Aine, a label with its vineyards situated in the Rhone Valley in France and history dating back from 1834.
The venerable label made headlines in 2008 when a case of 1961 Paul Jaboulet La Chapelle (rouge) fetched a whopping £123,750 (RM590,964.08) at Christie’s Fine and Rare Wine Auction in London. It was a new European record for the amount paid for a single case of wine.
When an invitation to a midweek wine dinner hosted by the label and The Press Room in Bangsar, I jumped at the chance. Great wines and food, how can you say no to that?
We were ushered in and seated with various wine glasses spread out in front of us. After reading the menu closely I could feel my tummy beginning to rumble.
Gazpacho shooters were passed around as an appetiser. The shooters were actually a kind of Bloody Mary mix with a hint of salsa and served with a stick of cucumber.
As the waiter opened the 2010 Parallele 45 Cotes du Rhone (blanc), I could smell its aromatic bouquet. The wine takes its name from the 45th North Line which runs 2km from the cellars of Maison Paul Jaboulet Aine and the name was used since the 1950’s.
At first sip, it was elegant with hints of fruits and a spicy afternote. It is made of 60% grenache and 40% syrah grapes.
Paul Jaboulet brand ambassador Gwenaele Chesnais recommended this as a casual and all-dinner wine.
She also said the wine would go well with cold seafood and Asian salads such as Vietnamese rolls.
Soon, the first course of Four Seasons Seared Scallops made its way to our table together with the 2010 Crozes-Hermitage Les Jalets (blanc). Made from marsanne grapes, it is dry and aromatic with notes of white flowers, sweet spices and honey.
It surely brought out the freshness of the scallops as each of them came with a different yet subtle flavours — chives, capers, tomato salsa and orange. Aside from scallops, the wine goes well with fish, veal stew and truffled eggs.
The Seared Duck Breast came shortly after. Its presentation was simple and it was served with steamed legumes and roasted grapes in pesto oil.
Although the duck did not seem to have any gravy, there were no hint of gameyness, in fact the medium-raw meat was delicious. The meat was supple and flavourful.
For this course, the first red wine was introduced — 2007 Saint-Joseph Le Grand Pompee (rouge). The name pays homage to a famous figure. In Victor Hugo’s La Légende des siècles (The Legend of the Ages), Charlemagne’s faithful companion Grand Pompee who fought the Moors on the right bank of the Rhone, and was a wine lover.
The wine has a deep ruby red while it has a concentrated nose of very ripe red fruits with sweet spices and liquorice notes.
Made from syrah grapes, it is aged for nine months in oak casks.
The night began to wind down, but we still had the Rack of Lamb to savour. The dish came much later, allowing the guests to mingle and share wine stories.
Chesnais feels that Old World wines are making a comeback, especially in Asian markets where affluent young people are growing in number. Despite the high tax barrier, the label has done quite well in Malaysia.
Lastly, the lamb dish arrived with grilled vegetables and parmesan risotto. As expected, a rich full-bodied wine went with it.
The 2007 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert is fully syrah and has a complex nose of red berries and animal notes. It also left a strong spicy aftertaste.
As for the lamb, it had a salty coat while its natural flavours and juices were nicely preserved inside. The risotto was al dente and topped with some alfalfa.
Dessert is always a must and this time the trusty Tiramisu made a showing. This cake was chosen to go with the 2009 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise (blanc) as its colour and taste matches the wine.
The sweet wine has an almost-syrupy texture and its colour looked almost like champagne sans the bubbles.
Although the review was technically over, many stayed behind to enjoy the various good wines and company. You can find the wines at selected restaurants and shops. The wines are distributed locally by Muihua Sdn Bhd.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.